The Nirvana and Love vs. Clarke and Collins Timeline (1992-1993)

An overview of the Victoria Clarke & Britt Collins unofficial biography saga, written by Osty Gale


June 1992
Clarke & Collins' book synopsis was faxed over to the band, and they received, in return, backstage passes for its European tour in June 1992. (White, 1993)
June 26, 1992
Victoria Clarke interviews Nirvana at Roskilde. Reflecting on the experience in 2011, she stated:

The authors' initial proposal was to write an unauthorized biography, over which the subject would have no right of veto. It was not to be the standard celebrity puff of rock biographies. It was to be a serious examination of the social forces that had created Nirvana.

'Kurt was never hugely supportive,' recalled Ms Clarke. 'He was always polite, but distant.'

Chris Novoselic, the bass player, gave her a long interview, and a Filofax full of people she should contact - particularly former drummers of the group, of which there are a lot.

At first, everything seemed to go swimmingly. The very first agent that we approached was AP Watt, one of the oldest in the UK, and they signed us up straight away. Britt was friendly with Nirvana's publicist Anton Brooks, who put us in touch with their manager John Silva. We had dinner with John, and he liked our idea. Very soon there was a bidding war for our book. We signed contracts with Hyperion in the US, and Boxtree in Britain and pretty soon we had actual cash in our hands and we were ready to roll.

I was given ‘Access All Areas’ passes for Nirvana's European tour in June 1992. It was decided that I should be the one to go on the tour, while Britt went to Seattle to research the ‘grunge’ scene there. I joined the band in Dublin, and traveled with them to Belfast, Paris and Denmark.

One afternoon at Roskilde in Denmark, I was wandering around the backstage area, when I bumped into Courtney Love. We had not spoken much, but I had introduced myself earlier in the tour and she had been friendly. She had previously starred in a film with Shane and The Pogues called ‘Straight to Hell’ and had got on well with some of the band.

Because we had decided to include Courtney in our book, I asked her if she would mind doing an interview with me. She said she would be happy to do one. But Kurt was not at all happy with this idea. Later that same day, I was approached by Janet Billig, the band's American publicist who told me that the band would prefer if I left the tour immediately. I was devastated. I actually broke down in tears. I simply could not understand what I had done wrong. Kurt, it was explained to me, was not happy that I had asked Courtney for an interview. That was the reason. I was not to know at the time that Courtney would appear in the September issue of Vanity Fair and that the article would quote her as saying that she had used drugs while pregnant with Frances Bean, the couple's child. And that this would lead to a whole heap of trouble.

Britt and I explained to Nirvana's management that we had no choice but to continue with our book, but that as fans of the band we would prefer to maintain a good relationship with them. At this stage, there was no animosity between us. It was explained to me that while they understood this, they no longer felt comfortable having a journalist at such close quarters. And so I traveled to Seattle, to research their background.

In Seattle, I stayed with Charles Peterson who was a very old friend of the band, and he took me around and introduced me to all the people who were relevant to the story. I began interviewing people about the band.

Everyone that I spoke to in Seattle said pretty much the same things, and confirmed what I had already discovered. Which was that Nirvana were a really nice, friendly, genuine bunch of guys. Apart from that, people didn't have a lot to say. What most people wanted to do was talk about Courtney. And the things that they said about her were not positive. I have to confess that although I am not proud of it, I rather enjoyed the bitching because it made for a more interesting story.

While I was in Seattle, Britt was basing herself in LA, and while she was there, she interviewed a man called James Moreland, who had been Courtney's previous husband. Like a lot of people, he had some negative things to say about Courtney, but they were not serious allegations. They mainly concerned her treatment of his puppies and her taste in music. At this point, none of the material that Britt and I had gathered could in any way have threatened Kurt or Courtney.

Then overnight, everything changed. The September issue of Vanity Fair appeared, with Courtney on the cover and in an interview with Lyn Hirschberg, she was quoted as saying that she had used Class A drugs, while pregnant. In the state of California it is a criminal offense to knowingly take drugs while pregnant and if proven, it can result in a child being removed from the parents. There was an immediate backlash against Courtney in the US media, and while she denied the story, Lyn Hirschberg stood by it and claimed to have tapes to prove it. Intrigued, Britt interviewed Lyn Hirschberg who claimed to have been subjected to verbal abuse and harassment by Courtney, as a result of the interview.

Somehow, Courtney discovered that Britt had spoken to Lyn Hirschberg, and there was an immediate backlash against us and our book. I arrived at a Nirvana show in Seattle later in the month, and was told that I had been barred from all of their gigs. Charles, the photographer with whom I had been staying withdrew his permission for us to use his photos, which had been an integral part of the book. Friends of the band who had not hesitated to tell me how much they disliked Courtney now told me that they could no longer speak to me. Then, on the night of October 22, while I was in bed with the flu, Courtney called me. I heard the phone ring, but switched it to silent. In the morning, the answer machine tape was full and there was thirty minutes of messages from both Kurt and Courtney, which is where I began this story.

After I left Seattle, I wanted to call Kurt and see if the situation could be sorted out. I knew that he was furious, but I still liked him and respected him. Having discussed the matter with our agent, Britt and I were advised not to speak to Kurt and Courtney. Instead, we made a decision which further inflamed the situation. We gave the answer machine tape to Entertainment Weekly magazine and they printed the transcript in full, across two pages. The story was picked up by the LA Times, the New York Times and most of the British and Irish papers. If this book ever came out, it would already be world famous.

At this point we still had not yet begun actually writing the book, and to be honest, if we had not been obligated to our publishers, I would have moved back to London and abandoned the project. It had never been my intention to write a muck-raking book. I felt totally out of my depth.

(Clarke, 2011) & (White, 1993)
Oct. 22nd-23rd, 26th, 31st, 1992
Cobain et al., send messages to Clarke and Collins relating to the book. (sources: LNIA, LN Day By Day, & Pener, 1992)
Mid-Late Oct. 1992
The group's lawyer sends a letter to the book's English publisher, accusing the authors of "misrepresenting" themselves to interviewees. (Hochman, 1992)
Nov 1, 1992
New York Times breaks the news on the Clarke incident. (Pener, 1992)
Nov 6, 1992
Seattle Times writer Patrick MacDonald reported on the incident, indicating Love and Cobain deny the calls - with Love & Goldberg stating the following:

"We were in Argentina like that whole week," she said, referring to Oct. 23-31. Nirvana played Buenos Aires Halloween night. She said the two writers have been pursuing the band for some time, and badgering friends and family of band members, saying they are writing an official Nirvana book. Love said that if charges are made in court, it will be apparent that the voices on the tapes are not those of her or her husband. She added that to get the latest true stuff on Nirvana, pick up the next issue of Spin, which has an interview with Cobain and Hole conducted by Jonathan Poneman of Sub Pop."

(MacDonald, 1992)

Goldberg stated in the piece:

"These women are writing a book and they want publicity," he said. "Either some friend of theirs is playing pranks on them or they're fabricating this stuff for the purposes of getting attention for their work."

Goldberg (MacDonald, 1992)

"Everybody always tries to portray Kurt as some kind of saint and Courtney as this bitch, but Kurt definitely had a dark side. He could be very twisted, real mean at times. Most of the time, though, he was real sweet, a quiet gentle guy. It just didn't compute. After the [Collins & Clarke] incident, she and about seventy other friends of Kurt's were visited by a private detective working for Kurt and Courtney who was attempting to find out whether they had talked to the two British writers."

Wheeler (Wallace and Halperin, 2005)
Nov 11, 1992
Los Angeles Times writer Steve Hochman writes about the incident. Associates of the band have been asked not to talk with the writers. But they deny allegations made by writers Britt Collins and Victoria Clarke that band leader Kurt Cobain and his wife, Courtney Love, have made threatening phone calls to them. (Hochman, 1992) In his 2019 Memoir, Goldberg states that he was just protecting his client:

"I lied to the New York Times, saying the messages were "either a prank that someone played on these women or this is something they are fabricating to publicize an unauthorized biography." I tried a similar tack with Steve Hochman from the Los Angeles Times, but he answered me in a pained voice, "I've spent time with both Kurt and Courtney and I recognize their voices." Hochman was a friend, a good guy, and a conscientious reporter, but I steeled myself and answered firmly, "I'm their manager and I'm denying that it's them and you have to print my denial." Hochman sighed with frustration but included my lie in his piece. I never had any regret about trying to cover up for them in this way. I wasn't under oath or responsible for government action; I was doing my job and standing up for my client."

At one point, Kurt and Courtney floated the idea of taking out an ad in the Seattle weekly The Rocket to announce that the book was unauthorized, but Janet and I persuaded them that this would have the opposite effect they wanted. I gave Kurt and Courtney a lecture suggesting they let Rosemary fight the battle legally and refrain from talking about it to the press and to please stop leaving messages on phone machines.

A few days later Kurt called me to tattle on Courtney after she answered a call from a writer for Entertainment Weekly and reiterated her rage at Collins and Clarke. "I told her to hang up," he insisted. The magazine printed a transcript of the messages as well as the phone call between their reporter and Courtney.

At the time, although I had had little sympathy for the would-be biographers, I worried that Kurt and Courtney's overreaction to them was counterproductive. Then a couple of weeks before Incesticide was released, Kurt faxed over additional liner notes about the evils of Lynn Hirschberg, Britt Collins, and Victoria Clarke, in particular, and the media in general. It was, thank God, too late to change the notes in the initial shipment, which was already in warehouses and heading shortly for stores, but Kurt demanded that they be included in future pressings of the record. The proposed addition was a venomous rant that sabotaged what Kurt had already written. It painted the media with a broad brush, as if everyone who wrote about music deserved to be in the same category as Hirschberg."

(Goldberg, 2019)
Nov 23, 1992
Danny Goldberg writes Cobain a letter, in order to convince Cobain to re-think his thoughts on re-hauling the liner notes, of which contained, from Kurt, "a venomous rant that sabotaged what Kurt had already written. It painted the media with a broad brush, as if everyone who wrote about music deserved to be in the same category as Hirschberg."(Goldberg, 2019)
December 4, 1992
Entertainment Weekly's Tim Appelo does a report on the unauthorized book. Stated within the report is the following conversation from Appelo and Love:

Mrs. Cobain? This is Tim Appelo from Entertainment Weekly, doing a story on your biographers —

How'd you get my number, Tim?

From the writers' tape.

Oh, they sent their tape! That's so lame! Imagine if you were being harassed (by writers) and you called them up and you go, "F— you, stop it, leave me alone."

How would you characterize your response to the writers?

I don't think it's that bad. I mean, I know we're right. I mean, we might have been mean to them, but they violated us and raped us, and it's just scary. I remember saying, like, "I'll f—ing haunt you till you f—ing die," and I meant it, because this kind of s— cannot go on.

How did this all start?

Okay, well, they approached Nirvana and they had this synopsis that was eerily butt-kissing. It was like, "Yeah, we want to talk to relevant, important bands," you know? It was this kind of smarmy, excuse-me type thing. They had no qualifications to write a book at all.

But things got bad when they talked to Lynn Hirschberg.

The things that Lynn Hirschberg did with lying and misquoting and just the portrait she painted of me — listen, I used to be really honest about things, but ever since Lynn Hirschberg I’m not gonna be honest about anything anymore. She painted a picture of a person who has no ethics, no discipline, does heroin (during) her pregnancy. Give me a break. I mean, I went to college. I’m not insane. Lynn Hirschberg is really obsessed with me and she's just, you know, really mainstream. She does celebrity profiles and puff pieces. (Hirschberg stands by her story: "I taped the interviews and I wrote what I saw.")

You're saying that, after the writers talked to Lynn Hirschberg, their book shifted from art to your personal life?

All of a sudden their whole agenda changed. All of a sudden they're calling people who claimed to have slept with Kurt. Britt got ahold of one of my ex-boyfriends. They went to Kurt's Aunt Judy (Milne) and — listen to how obsessed they are with me. They get to Aunt Judy's and all they do is talk about me. What do you think of Courtney? What do you think of what she wears? What do you think her influence on Kurt is? (Clarke claims Milne brought Courtney up; Milne angrily denies this, calling Clarke "a very strange young woman.") They're obsessed with the fact that me and Kurt got married and had a child. It's very sexist and stupid. They're discussing me as if I'd never had a band or made any sort of contribution to my culture, which is, you know, punk rock. Their whole point is that I’m not an artist — all I am is this crazy, dysfunctional, manipulative person.

On the tape, you threaten the writers with lawsuits and a nationwide ad campaign besmirching them.

That's not gonna happen. I don't want to give them any more press. What they're doing is really retarded.

So what's next for you?

I just did a single this week. It's gonna be released in Europe. F— this country, man. Do you know what kind of mail I get now? Like morbid, like people who collect John Wayne Gacy paintings and stuff? Like weird freaks.

Crazy people are out there.

I know. But that usually happens to heavy-metal people. It doesn't happen to punk-rock people.

But now punk rock is mass market.

Yeah, I guess. You know, I wish Kurt was really fat or in a band that was smaller. 'Cause the kind of emotions that the whole archetype of, like, the white male rock star brings out in people is very gross.

Has it made you distrust the press?

I'll tell you, what's important in this life is being honest and not telling lies. (In the background, baby Frances starts vocalizing.)

Your baby is taking this to heart.

Yes, she's got our genes. I have to go. I'll talk to you later. Bye.

(Appelo, 1992)
December 5, 1992
Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain go to Raji's nightclub, where Courtney Love allegedly attacked both Clarke, and her friends. (Legal letter, dated Jan. 30th, 1993)

One night, to cheer ourselves up, Britt and I went to see a band at a club called Raji's in Hollywood where we lived. We got chatting to two members of Courtney's band Hole, and then just as I had taken a seat, I spotted Kurt and Courtney come in. At first, they did not see me, and I hoped they wouldn't. But then I felt a sharp bang on my head, liquid poured down my face and I found myself on the floor, with Courtney grabbing me by the hair. She proceeded to drag me along the floor, while Kurt stood and watched. All the while she told me she was going to get me outside. I screamed for help, and a bouncer managed to rescue me. After Kurt and Courtney had left, several people came over and suggested that I call the police, and take witness statements.

I was not seriously injured, mainly shocked and bruised, but I saw a doctor at Cedars Sinai and I duly reported the incident to the LAPD. In the morning, I received a call from the police informing me that Courtney had also reported the incident, claiming that I had attacked her. We both had to go to court the following February, for the preliminary hearing.

(Clarke, 2011)
Late 1992/Early 1993
Kurt Cobain draws a caricature of three women, one of them possibly Courtney Love with a gun in her mouth, in a dream-state thinking of the issues she faces and her mortality. Suspected that the women in the dream clouds are Victoria Clarke and Britt Collins. Image is released in February 1993 on Sonic Youth's Whores Moaning EP (Stein, 2004)
In an interview with Michael Azerrad, Cobain states the following:

Kurt, however, doesn't deny that it was his voice on the tapes. He sounded homicidal, he says,

"Because I want to kill them. Obviously, I have a lot to lose right now so I won't be able to do it, but I have all the rest of my life. If I ever find myself destitute and I've lost my family, I won't hesitate to get revenge on people who have fucked with me. I've always been capable of that. I've tried killing people before in a fit of rage when I've gotten in fights with people. It's definitely a character flaw, to say the least, but I feel so strongly about people unnecessarily causing negative things to happen to people for no reason."

"I don't enjoy people fucking with my family and carrying on the tradition of lies and slander," he continues. "I don't deserve it. No one deserves it. We've been scapegoated more than any fucking band I can think of in the history of rock, to my knowledge. People fuck with us and they want dirt and they want to lie about us and I just don't understand it. I've never really tried to do anything scandalous in my life. When people unnecessarily fuck with me, I just can't help but want to beat them to death. I’m a firm believer in revenge. I don't care. I guess I am unbalanced in that part of my psyche. I wouldn't hesitate and if I ever do see Collins or Clarke in public, I’m going to beat the fucking shit out of either one of them. If they can get away with doing that much damage to me and my family, then I can sit in jail for a few months for battery. I don't really care at this point."

A few weeks later, Kurt had relaxed his tone.

"I don't ever talk like that, that's the first time I've ever been so vicious and so sexist and weird. I just wanted to seem as extreme and irrational as possible to scare them. For all I care, they are exactly those things. I don't feel bad about saying any of that stuff because they are cunts. Men can be cunts, too."

(Azerrad, 2013)
January 30, 1993
Clarke & friend Shannon, at Los Angeles Courthouse giving statement re: Courtney Love hitting her on Dec. 5, 1992 at Raji's nightclub. (Legal letter, dated Jan. 30th, 1993)
January 30, 1993
"The biography, written by Clarke and Britt Collins, is said to be finished and undergoing legal checks, prior to production." (Kurt: "The Biggest Fuck You Of My Life"; Melody Maker - January 30, 1993)
February 1, 1993
Courtney's in Los Angeles court, giving evidence regarding assaulting Clarke. (True, 2009)

I was represented by Axl Rose's lawyer Albert Dworkin who played the answer phone tape to the judge. Courtney admitted that it was her voice on the tape but claimed to have intended no malice. Kurt did not appear in court. The case was adjourned, and after a month it was dropped. I was told by my lawyer that the judge had not thought it serious enough for a criminal prosecution. I could not possibly afford a civil suit, so I gave up on it.

Britt and I went back to London, where we discovered that our UK publishers had decided not to go ahead with publishing the book, after having been threatened with law suits by Nirvana's lawyers. Our US publishers also decided not to go ahead with the book. A fax had been circulated from Nirvana's management to the media warning people not to have anything to do with me or Britt, as we were ‘groupies who had offered bribes and sexual favours to interviewees in exchange for information.’ Which was definitely not true!

We managed to find an Irish publisher who was not intimidated, but he was found dead, before he could publish the book. At that point we gave up and turned our attention to other projects.

(Clarke, 2011)
Feb. 1993
The Independent quotes Janet Billig and Britt Collins on the issue. Republished in 2011 by The Independent.

It all seemed like a good idea in the beginning. "Kurt's is the classic rock'n'roll story - heroin, bad childhood - I thought there was something there," said Britt Collins last week, sitting in a house in London in which the telephone number was ex-directory. "And you can't invent someone like Courtney, she's fascinating, everything she does and says is completely outrageous. Compared to them, most other rock bands are boring."

"You couldn't leave Courtney out of a serious look at Nirvana," said Ms Collins. "The parallels with Yoko Ono, with Nancy Spungen (Sid Vicious's girlfriend) are too interesting. She and Kurt check into hotels under the name Ritchie, Sid's real name, incidentally. It's not very nice to stereotype, but she falls right into it. I'm fascinated by the way she's taken over from Kurt, no one wants to interview him any more. It's like Di and Charles."

"I've heard some of the messages Courtney has left on Lynn's answering machine," said Ms Collins. "Now that's unhealthy."

When they first heard the tapes, the authors decided to stop their research. But their agent insisted they continue.

"She said we mustn't be intimidated," said Ms Collins. "Why should we stop? We had done nothing wrong. They were trying to censor us."

Collins (White, 1993)

"The authors are trying to create controversy, invent traumas," Janet Billig, a spokesman for Nirvana, told the Independent. "They are minor, insignificant writers. The band never gave their co-operation. These women never waited for an answer to their request for co-operation, they just started to invade privacy."

"When they got a 'no' for their initial proposal, these women got down and got dirty. There are three other books being written about Nirvana at the moment, we have no problem with any of these. The writers of these haven't tried to probe and infiltrate our lives like these women did."

Billig (White, 1993)
July 16-17, 1993
Nirvana interview with Request magazine writer Jim DeRogatis briefly mentions the Clarke incident. (DeRogatis, 1993)
July 22-24, 1993
Nirvana interview with The Face's Amy Raphael, mentions the Clarke incident.

Last October, Clarke played a message of her answering machine to publications from Select to the Independent. It was Kurt Cobain, saying he could have her "snuffed out", but would "try the legal way first."

Since then, no one has been quite sure if the book's actually coming out. "Their publishers are so afraid we're gonna sue them that we received a copy of the book yesterday to proof read. We get to edit anything we want." Kurt laughs at the absurdity of this, but his face is weary rather than gleeful.

"I guess we've done a pretty good job of scaring them." At the time of going to press, the book had no publishers. "It's not been finally decided yet," said Clarke and Collins' agent. Will it definitely go ahead? "We hope so."

A proof of the book shows they've kept the working title, even though Nirvana insist it is their copyright. The concluding word in the epilogue is dedicated to anyone considering a career as a rock biographer - "Don't".

The biography is as you might expect it to be: a detailed look at Nirvana, their rise to success, their foibles, lots of quotes from interviews and a whole section on Courtney Love. The most bizarre part is the chapter entitled "Load Up On And Kill Your Friends", which attempts to sidestep possible legal proceedings by taking the form of a "Pinteresque comedy in three acts, on the drama, the dilemma and absurdity of being a rock star." A jumble of disparate quotes stitched together, it is both intentionally and unintentionally comical.

(Raphael, 1993) - published September 1993)
July 22, 1993
Cobain interview with Jon Savage, mentions the Clarke incident, as stated below:

Savage:"I have one criticism; I think you over-reacted on those Victoria Clarke letters. I think you gave her publicity…

Cobain: I know. That's what I tried to tell Courtney… but we weren't in the best of mental states at that time. I totally agree. I mean, that's the first thought that came into my mind, that if we were to address this at all, it was just going to get more press. They dug through our garbage, they lied and fucked their way through so many of my friends, and deceived so many people that I really like in Seattle that I didn't know what to do. It's really hard to be in control of your own press, because my management doesn't know anything about it. How to protect anyone from things like this. Every time we've ever got into a legal battle, we've always ended up just paying people off. We've literally given away money to people like a band called Nirvana from Orange County, Los Angeles, fifty thousand dollars, just to stay away from litigation that we easily could have won. I hate that idea because I've always wanted to fight people that are fucking with me unnecessarily. But I don't know how to go about it."

(Savage, 1993)
August 28, 1993
In an interview with Kurt Cobain, The Stud Brothers get a chance to talk with Courtney Love, wherein Courtney rants [protracted from publication of the interview] about the book and authors, after having acquired a manuscript of it, from their publisher, Hyperion. (Brothers, 1993)

"I was really surprised when I got a phone call from Danny Goldberg, saying, They just really want you to stop talking about them. It was like, "What the fuck? What are you talking about? Talking about them? Who would I be talking to them about?"

Shortly after that, a woman came from England doing a book on Nirvana. Courtney left a super abusive voicemail on my answering machine a tape that I still have to this day just reading me the riot act. It was pathetic more than anything, but it was really clear in that because she named all the women that Kurt had ever been friends with, and that she had systematically removed from his life she was really threatened by him having any female friendships.

This woman who was writing the book came, she was quite disarming and quite lovely, and at that point, I was pissed. Like, "Wait a minute, they're talking shit about me to other people? She's leaving me abusive phone messages. She's having Danny Goldberg calling to basically give me a gag order."

I don't get angry very well, and haven't many times in my life, but I had said basically what I said to you, to this woman. And at that point, she put it in some book I think. It's nothing I wouldn't say now — Courtney left an abusive phone message and was acting extremely irrational at this concert in Spain.

And it was really sad, because she was somewhat instrumental in the undoing of our sense of community here."

Silver (Prato, 2009)
Fall, 1993
Clarke, info about the cancelled book, and Nirvana's Lawyer and the letter he sent Clarke and Collins, are discussed in an interview, sometime after the release of both Route 666 (July 1993), and Come As You Are (September 1993).

"the project derived from conversations from Nirvana's U.K. publicist, Anton Brookes. Both worked for London magazine, Lime Lizard, Collins as its editor, Clarke as a contributor, which had sturdily supported Nirvana and the other Seattle bands.

We wanted to do a book that would cover all the bands coming out of the Seattle scene. For instance, Britt was especially keen on Mudhoney. But we figured we should focus on Nirvana since Britt thought they were going to be very successful and she was right . . . we were just interested in the music side. We didn't know much about them personally."

Through Brookes and the band's manager at Gold Mountain, John Silva, the necessary permissions were arranged. Clarke states the pair weren't interested in an authorized book, ironically 'because we figured that if we did that, they would censor the book'. But they were allowed to join Nirvana on tour and quiz them as well they could.

Clarke eked out her modest advance, following the band to Belfast, Paris and Copenhagen. But her contact with Nirvana's first couple was tenuous and in Copenhagen, she was asked to leave the tour.

At this point, there is a total conflict of testimony. Lichtenstein's letter alleges that Clarke then skived off to Seattle and misrepresented Nirvana's support of the project to dupe her prospective interviewees. For her part, Victoria Clarke utterly rejects these charges.

Her Copenhagen interpretation is that the band's managerial assistant, Janet Billig informed her that the band "felt under a lot of pressure and they don't feel comfortable with having a journalist around all the time. And they also think that writing a book about them at this stage is a bit premature." So she continues: "I explained to her that we had to do the book because we'd already spent the advance money . . . and she agreed to co-operate with Britt over press cuttings and stuff . So after that I went to Seattle."

Now the two versions totally diverge: "As far as we were concerned, there was no animosity between us and the band. We knew a lot of their friends and I was actually staying with their photographer, Charles Peterson. And I actually interviewed Krist Novoselic. I met him a couple of times in Seattle and spent a day at his house." So how does she explain the charges against her?

"I think that a lot of people, when they heard Kurt opposed the book, they probably freaked out and said 'shit, well I've done an interview with these people, Kurt's going to be furious.' And Kurt indeed was furious, I know this for a fact. So they would have said 'well, she told me it was authorized'."

Clarke insists she never did, conceding only that she "might have said I've been on the road with them, I've spoken with them, yes, I like them or whatever. But I never would have said it was authorized and I didn't - although I suppose I can see why people might have got that impression."

Well, if Krist Novoselic gives an interview, that would have convinced me of Nirvana's benevolence towards the project. Meanwhile, Courtney Love was in the last weeks of her pregnancy while Kurt Cobain had gone into hospital to detox. Not surprisingly, Kurt's aunt, another Clarke source, was unable to phone him to learn his views on the book.

Clarke: "I imagine they felt that the stuff we had could potentially add to this and back up the case for the social welfare people and possibly make things even worse and get the baby taken away completely. That would have been a big worry for them and when we interviewed Lynn Hirschberg, they probably assumed we were on her side."

Further scratching their sore spot, Britt Collins then interviewed Falling James, from L.A. band The Leaving Trains, who was once briefly and tempestuously Courtney Love's first husband. He threatened not Love's daughter but her image.

"A couple of things in what he said she probably considered most damaging," Clarke believes. "Like, he says she didn't like punk rock and she wouldn't let him play his punk rock records in the house. Now she's like the Queen of Punk Rock so it's really important for her that nobody suggests that she didn't like punk rock two years ago."

English publishers, Boxtree, were their first target. According to Clarke, the company "were threatened with being sued in California . . . what they were saying was that Boxtree had business interests in California, so they could be sued there. Maybe that's true, I don't know . . . But they were sueing for a ridiculous amount of money for damages and emotional distress and all that stuff. And Boxtree weren't prepared to take that risk." "They're mad. Every time they open their mouths about this book, it only gets more attention."

Meanwhile Victoria Clarke strikes a defiant pose: "if we have to photocopy it and hand it out on the street, we will."

For Collins and Clarke, this parody version of punk had become "a statement of desperate resignation, translating into elitism and contempt by attacking weak and easy targets and spouting hypocritical intentions of destroying heavy metal and corporate rock but insidiously embracing its ideology."

"Our book itself is now less significant than the story of its suppression."

(source: (Heaven Knows They're Miserable Now, 1993) - (Article & Interview republished Apr. 2, 2001)
February 27 1998 (US) / July 3,1998 (UK)
Nick Broomfield's documentary, titled Kurt & Courtney is released. Relating to Victoria Clarke, the LN release page for this particular film is as follows:

Scene 33: They play one of the Courtney sections of the Victoria Clarke tapes. Unsurprisingly they play the aggressive part.

Scene 34: Victoria Clarke being interviewed. Victoria claims that Courtney grabbed her and attacked her with a glass and dragged her by her hair along the floor.

Scene 35: Kurt's section of the Victoria Clarke tapes. Kurt's voice sounds extremely strained; his voice is almost unrecognizable. He is angry and very upset and makes a number of very unpleasant threats towards Victoria.

Scene 36: The film segues back to Victoria Clarke. Victoria says she was so worried she moved 3000 miles away and said she thought they were serious.

(Andrews and Furth, 2001)
Late October, 1998
UnCool Beans #9 Bonus CD is released, featuring some of the recorded phone calls. (Kelly, 1998)
Spring, 2012
The complete 34-minute tape of the answering machine messages surfaces, within the Nirvana community, in better quality than what was previously circulating on the UnCool Beans #9 CD.

Key Things known about the book

Originally titled Nirvana: The Definitive Story (DeRogatis, 1993), the book was also titled Nirvana: Fudge Packin, Crack Smokin, Satan Worshippin Motherfuckers, prior to being retitled as Nirvana: Flower Sniffin', Kitty Pettin', Baby Kissin' Corporate Rock Whores. (Appelo, 2011)

The advance manuscript relies extensively on previously published sources, and contains "some of the most flatulent prose" in rock journalism. (DeRogatis, 1993)

There is a chapter titled "Load Up On And Kill Your Friends", which attempts to sidestep possible legal proceedings by taking the form of a Pinteresque comedy in three acts, on the drama, the dilemma and absurdity of being a rock star." A jumble of disparate quotes stitched together, it is both intentionally and unintentionally comical. (Raphael, 1993)

The cancelled book, as described in a July 1993 interview with Cobain as a "detailed look at Nirvana, their rise to success, their foibles, lots of quotes from interviews and a whole section on Courtney Love." (Raphael, 1993)

The page count is 208.

Originally to be published by Boxtree (Macmillan Publishers) in the UK, and Hyperion (now Hatchette) Books in the US.

Collins/Clarke often teases the band but it's most mild, compared to N.M.E. and M.M. at their most vitriolic and unforgiving. There's few dirty secrets to embarrass any adult and one can only presume the Nirvana Lit. Crit. Hit squad don't appreciate or even begin to understand the pair's arch if sometimes heavy-handed sense of humour.

Their book isn't perfect. At points, it's repetitious and needs a sharp editing knife. Its real sin in Nirvana's eyes may be its refusal to take them seriously and genuflect to their collective Godhead."

The Clarke/Collins manuscript devotes its longest chapter, over 50 pages to Courtney Love. Unsurprisingly, Seth Lichtenstein demanded it be completely deleted.

Their manuscript hardly mentions heroin and she insists that aspect is essentially unchanged from the draft originally given to Nirvana's lawyers.

Labelled as "The first complete and inside biography of Nirvana, a group of instrument-breaking, hard-drinking, drug-taking rock anarchists who embody negative teenage rock at its most controversial. Features previously unpublished photos, song lyrics, and interviews with the band members. b/w photos. Radio giveaways." (Collins, n.d.)

Seth Lichtenstein Letter

Still the funniest parts of Lichtenstein's 34-page submission (NirvanaDiscography stated it was a 56-page letter, (Baas and Benne, 2002) concern Courtney Love. Lichtenstein's dossier poker-facedly submits that "Ms. Love is not a "voracious Camille Paglia reader" and does not ascribe to any notion of sexual aggression."

Furthermore, don't ever believe that Courtney Love is some rock'n'roll anarchist guerilla. Instead Lichtenstein's letter insists that the Clarke/Collins statement that ""Courtney Love thinks she can give corporate rock incurable syphilis and change the rock world" is both unintelligible and gibberish. Are the authors implying that Ms. Love is afflicted with a venereal disease?"

No just turning what Michael Azerrad describes as Courtney Love's "sardonic, sarcastic sense of humour" back on her. Furthermore Love is alert to any hazard of a rift with her U.K. media friends. For according to the Lichtenstein dossier, "Courtney Love does not believe Everett True (Sub Pop and Hole's earliest and most loyal champion in the Melody Maker: B.G.) is a "wanker" (a uniquely British term)." (Heaven Knows They're Miserable Now, 1993)


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